Available May 17, 2016
Just before Dani and her mother escape to Paris for healing and restoration, Dani learns that her grandfather has been hospitalized. The Paris trip was supposed to be the inspiration to create the artwork that will make Dani’s mother a star, plus the project that will save Dani’s own grade in art class. Now, unless Dani can fix up her grandfather’s house, repair the damaged relationships between him and his children, and find someone to care for the ornery man while they’re gone, her trip is a lost cause.
Dani can’t give up, especially when she learns of her grandmother’s dreams that one day her mom would become a famous painter. As Dani struggles to make her life into the perfect happily-ever-after, she discovers that the people she loves most have other plans, other dreams than the ones she imagined for them. She learns that like her grandfather, she, too must learn to love others beyond what they do for her and for themselves.
I really liked this story. I found Dani easy to identify with. Her struggles with trying to make things turn out right for everyone else really resonated with me, as did her confusion over her feelings for her neighbor and her hurt over her boyfriend’s behavior toward her. It definitely echoed my own teen experience in some ways.
The faith elements play a strong role in the story, but they didn’t seem to dominate or steal the show. I liked that prayer was kind of a natural part of Dani’s life, and that the author included it in such an open, organic way. To me it felt more experiential and less preachy, which I think is a great thing.
If you liked To Get to You by Joanne Bischof, check out Almost There for the similar innocent romance and organic expression of Christian faith.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
All characters appear to be white. Dani’s family is wealthy as is her boyfriend’s and friend’s. She meets a boy from much more humble background.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Dani and her boyfriend are very close but have agreed not to have sex until after marriage. They share kisses, and she becomes nervous if she thinks he has ideas beyond that.
Dani and her friends pray at difficult intervals throughout the story. Dani shares her faith with her mom, not like salvation prayers, but more like sharing her current experience. For instance, she talks of learning to trust that God will work things out in her life. These deep faith moments happen as though they’re a part of normal life, which might be strange for some readers, but accurately depicts the kind of faith experience of some evangelical Christian families.
Dani’s grandfather becomes violent when he doesn’t get his way. Nothing huge, but his temper is definitely not under control. A fire leaves one man dead.
Dani worries about her uncle, a recovering addict. She learns that her friend’s dad is an alcoholic. The story shows no drug abuse.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.